There’s been something of a stirring in the musical underground in France of late. Not a month seems to pass by without another delicious slice of Gallic metal being offered up for our delectation. I don’t know what President M. Hollande is putting in the water but it’s proving very effective. The latest French export to hit my ears is the stoner/sludge/doom metal exposition of four piece Huata. (Breton for “witch-hunt”, don’t cha know)
“Atavist of Mann” is a cracking recipe of sludgy, dirty, Seventies Hammer Horror, Satanic doom (ok, I’ll stop with the adjectives now) metal that anyone with an ear for the slightly off centre, the eccentric or the outsider in music is going to want to hear. Again and again. Perhaps most obviously and heavily influenced by the superlative Electric Wizard, there is much to recommend in this record. There is a languid and relaxed approach in the band’s delivery- they aren’t afraid to let their songs breathe and develop, in a charming, organic way. Fans of Ghost will doubtless be enamoured of Huata’s use of the Hammond organ right across the record that gives the album an antique feel without being overly arch or studied.
There is an emotional and musical intelligence at work here too: the songs here feel like musical novellas both in structure and delivery. Thee Imperial Wizard and Templars of the Black Sun probably give you a pretty obvious sense of the subject matter but it’s not as bludgeoning as you might fear; in fact, it’s much more welcoming and inviting than this sort of thing usually is. More, it’s not boring or droning as lesser talents of the doom scene can be.
Atavist of Mann is not a record that will instantly plant itself in your brain or your heart but, after repeated listens, you get a much better sense of what the band is aiming for and, once you let yourself drown in their sonic grooves, you find yourself enchanted by their world view, wrapped up in their sonic adventures and compelled by their Satanic majesty (or something like that anyway). Worthy of your investigation.